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  1. #1
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    Are Stereo’s Preset EQ Settings Sort of Pointless?

    I have had the preset EQ in my car set to “Rock” (e.g. higher bass levels, everything else flat) since I bought the car in 2003.

    Today, while listening to a CD, I decided to turn it off and let the natural mix of the CD take care of everything.

    And the music on the CD sounded so much better!

    So, I got to thinking, what is the point of EQ presets on radios? Shouldn’t the studio mix of the recording take care of everything? I mean, if the mix is bass-heavy, for example, it should come across the way it was intended if the EQ is off/set to flat; why would you want to add more bass or trebles to an already studio-mixed recording?

    There is one exception to this, though: Talk radio. It does actually help to use the “News” EQ preset since it brings down the highs and lows, which is much easier to listen to when it’s spoken content.

    Discuss.

  2. #2
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    stereos have an inherent EQ in them already, to an extent. I think that most popular modern stereo stuff-- for auto or home-- is EQ'd to wow you in Best Buy, but be generally unfaithful to studio production. Recordings have likewise lost nuance as they become overcompressed and so on in what is known as the "loudness wars."
    [/retro hi-fi grouch]
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  3. #3
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
    Shouldn’t the studio mix of the recording take care of everything?
    There is no way to know:
    . What radio
    . What speakers
    . What type of sound is being played
    . What the listener prefers

    I jump between different EQ modes on my car radio when listening to spoken word versus music, and may even change based on type of music. Rock likes the extra bass, jazz and classical less so, talk radio, almost none. Also, the same song over the radio versus from a CD sounds slightly different. I pretty much stick to the factory preset EQ curves, though.
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  4. #4
    AEO
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    you only need to set it to rock when you want some phat beats
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  5. #5
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    I love EQ. My bilateral hearing loss is especially pronounced in the higher frequencies. So I boost the higher frequencies to at least partially compensate.
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    Senior Member DGozinya's Avatar
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    When you go out to a restaurant, do you ever add salt, pepper, hot sauce, etc. to your entree? Everyone has different tastes, in their mouth and in their head. Having spent 20+ years in the studio, there really is no answer. We just try and get a mix that is true to what we know in that studio and has a sound that can translate to a variety of systems. Every artist/producer/exec has a vision of how they want their song to sound like. Sometimes it's big and bassy other times it's more flat.

    For the consumer audio gear, dsp (digital signal processing) is cheap r&d and adds whizbang features to the spec sheet, making it more impressive to the unwashed masses.

  7. #7
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Like was mentioned above, running a flat EQ with the goal of getting the intended mix depends on having a flat amp, speakers and room.

    I love the 5-band EQ on my better mp3 player and prefer amps/receivers with EQ to those with only Bass/Treble.

    I need some kind of compressor for my DVD player, though. Some movies with only 5.1 and those with crappy 2-channel sound are all over the place on my 2 speaker system. You can't hear dialog, then you're BLOWN away by audio special effects.
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    These are some clear and easily understandable responses. Thanks, all!

  9. #9
    Senior Member ScottStr's Avatar
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    My daughter's fiancee just got a newer car. Its stereo allows the user to set a different EQ setting for each preset. When he got the car, it had a preset for the most popular religious station in the area, with the EQ set for total bass overload. It makes contemporary Christian sound like hip-hop.

  10. #10
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Every component in the system "flavors" the sound, even seemingly innocuous stuff like speaker wire or the wire between components, esp. if dealing with analog signals. Digital signals, not so much, such as hooking one digital device to another, or so I have been taught. When I DJ'd a bit and had systems in cars, I loved having a passive EQ to tailor the sound to the song, the car, the room, etc.

    Now I am an old curmudgeon and I just want whatever it is turned down, NOW, and I want you kids off my yard.
    Last edited by jsharr; 01-14-11 at 07:03 PM.
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  11. #11
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
    stereos have an inherent EQ in them already, to an extent. I think that most popular modern stereo stuff-- for auto or home-- is EQ'd to wow you in Best Buy, but be generally unfaithful to studio production. Recordings have likewise lost nuance as they become overcompressed and so on in what is known as the "loudness wars."
    [/retro hi-fi grouch]
    So true. But there's still some artists that don't succumb to the lure of over compression; usually you can google the artist and find other people's take on the matter. The English rock band "Elbow", one of my favorites, has outstanding dynamic range.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member shouldberiding's Avatar
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    Digital EQ presets in consumer electronics are almost always horrible.

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